I’m pretty sure I’ve talked about my faith walk from the perspective of those individuals who have tracked my progress from the beginning until now. But indulge me please. Let’s do it again. They seem to have fallen into two very distinct groups. The first who noticed included those Christians around me who like me, rejoiced in my rebirth. I’ve written many columns about those who prayed, rejoiced and some who breathed a sigh of relief at the mere thought of a brand new me. Discovery would be an appropriate description for how I viewed it at the time. To date, I’ve discovered more about people I thought I knew after being saved than I ever thought possible before. Looking back on it, I saw the world and my friends more like a black and white movie. Now they come across in Technicolor, High Definition and Surround Sound.
The second group included those individuals who wouldn’t or couldn’t relate to me at all and still can’t. This group also included many so called friends of mine. It’s hard to explain but bible study, tithing, regular church attendance, prayer, praise and trying to live right can bring out an unusual reaction in some people. I know because I used to be one of those folk who avoided anyone or anything that invited God into one’s life. I wasn’t outwardly negative. It just wasn’t part of my program. So in some way, I understood the reaction I was getting. Some thought it was a phase that time would take care of, a guilt trip I’d get over or a self induced high I would come down from. Most couldn’t see the serious nature of my transformation because they also saw me in two shades only; one black, the other white. Others just refused to accept the truth that God was the reason for my behavior change. There had to be some other reason, perhaps a hidden agenda.
You know salvation and eternity are vague concepts. What in the hell does eternity have to do with right here, right now? What became so easy to acknowledge in church, was difficult, at best, to communicate to those people who you knew and were with you when you did all those things (and enjoyed them by the way) that you just didn’t do anymore. If it weren’t for those Christians who could and did relate to the new me, I might still see the world as only black and white with a bunch of gray people. Believe me, Technicolor is much better. That’s one of the reasons I believe it’s so easy for me to relate to Paul. You want to talk about a transformation! It’s a wonder Paul lived to tell anyone about Jesus. Why should anyone have believed anything that came out of Paul’s murderous mouth? The answer in hindsight is really awesome. The words that came out of Paul’s mouth were indeed put there by Jesus. The same Christ who knocked me down and picked me up is the same guy who slapped Paul into divine truth. As with Paul, I changed because I didn’t have a choice in the matter. If you’re saved, or even questioning if you are, you don’t have a choice either. But do not worry. This is a new you as I am a new me. All you have to do is give God a shot. You’ll soon realize as Paul did, it’s about whom you have become and not about how others can’t let go of who you once were. Sooner or later they’ll come to understand and adjust or they will just disappear from your world or you will disappear from theirs. It’s just that simple. The funny thing is when God knocks you down and then picks you up, (like Paul) you’ll be put on the right path even if you’re blind to it.
May God bless and keep you always,